The Kru spread out, whispering softly to each other in tongues that sounded gutteral to outsiders. Each left their assault rifle slung, brandishing instead what Sli had assumed to be walking sticks.

“Muskets,” Sli said. “Those are muskets!”

“Bullets are hard to find,” said the lead Kru, Nils. “Expensive. Hard to make. Musket balls, black powder…those are easy. So we use them first.”

“You’re not making me very confident,” said Sli. “Single-shot ramrod-pushers?”

“For most things, it is enough,” grunted Kru.

“Not for this!”

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